ANNOUNCEMENTS

** Don't forget to check out this week's Bible verse.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Power of Love Blog Series

Everyone knows about it.
Everyone desires it.
Everyone dreams of it.

What is it?

L.O.V.E


During the month of February, we are diving into different aspects of love... Jesus style. This is the last part of the full blog series I have done.

Faith, Hope, & Love Series

Each Monday during the month, a new post will be released to help us define and find what love really means and how we should be using it. 

Join me here in another journey of self-discovery!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Book Corner: 'More Than' Discussion



Welcome to week five in our discussion of 
More Than: Abandon Your Labels, Embrace Your Calling.

This week we read Chapter 6 which was about the reasons behind our calling.

As I was reading, I thought about the why behind my various ways with writing. I'm an author of four books with more in the making, the author of several blogs, and I do my own personal journals, too. Of course, the journals are more for personal reflection than for public purposes. Although at times I do use some of the written words in my posts.

Well, the author asks us to write down the why behind our what and to think about what's holding us back and to add that as well.

This is what I came up with...

At first, the why behind my writing was a personal outlet. I used writing as a way to express the feeling inside in a healthy manner. I found that writing in journals help me but also others too. Then, when I figured out that my personal outlet could help someone see that there is life past the hurts and we can actually be happy while living with depression. That's where Silenced was born. There are several places in the book where I took entries from my own journal and placed into Amber's. 

The why behind my writing is because I want to inspire. I want to show someone that there is more to this life than what meets the eyes. I want to help someone see life for what it can be; past the hurt and pain. 

As I thought about what was holding me back, I realized that my excuses were just that.... EXCUSES! How am I ever going to be the person who helps if I don't make the time to fully write and push my work? Yes, at times I get a bit discouraged with my writing when I see another author who started in their career after me making best selling lists. However, I can hear the Lord telling me... "NOT YET"

The very thing to push me forward into this writing is to embrace that this is my time to write and allow the Lord to work with my future for my writing. He's telling me to hold off and not to rush it. My time will come, but I still need to write. 

What is the why behind your what and what is holding you back?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

*** Book Corner News ***

Welcome Readers....

I surely hope you are enjoying the book discussions as much as I am. I wanted to let you know what our next book will be since there are two chapters left in our current book. 

Our next read is: 



About this Book: 
We all experience the impossibilities of life, just like the four men in the Bible who sought Jesus’ healing touch for their paralyzed friend. The question is—how will you respond?

You have two options. You can accept your circumstances as God’s will and simply give up… or, you can break through and receive everything God has waiting for you.

Breakthrough Faith will help you discover…
  • You have an enemy: all circumstances are not God’s will
  • God is both willing and able to miraculously move in your life
  • You already possess breakthrough faith: you just need to activate it
  • The mind matters: what you think about God determines what you experience
  • Intimacy with the Father ushers you into a supernatural lifestyle and greater works
  • Practical keys to activating breakthrough faith in your life: Declaration, Testimony, and Presence

The paralytic’s four friends didn’t give up and broke through the roof to get to Jesus—and experienced the miraculous. You can break through too! Get ready to activate the faith God has given you and break through every impossibility that comes against your life!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Power of Hope: Reclaiming Hope

Life can get pretty stressful and chaotic. Right? I believe so. 

If we don't take the opportunity to reclaim the peace, hope, and calmness life offers, we will eventually be weighed down by the negativity that surrounds us.


Let's take a look at the word reclaim. 


reclaim (v)
  • to recover (substances) in a pure or usable form from refuse, discarded articles, etc.
  • to bring back to a preferable manner of living, sound principles, ideas, etc.


The most important part of this definition is in bold: bring back to a preferable manner of living! In order to to this we take each part of this series and put them into play. Once we see what hope is and know the meaning, we can find it and embrace it. After we can reclaim it for our lives and live a life full of hope. 

Our focus for the future is to look forward with faith and hopes that the Lord has something great in store for us. We need to live by the fact that the Lord promises us many things and He will come through. For us to completely reclaim our hopes, we HAVE to lean on the Lord for guidance. Some may not understand, however, this is not for us to understand. We can have hope in our future because God is here with us. He wants us to live a full life of greatness. He has set us free and has given us the ability to reclaim that hope so that we may live a joyful life.

The Lord wants us to push away darkness and lies so we are not oppressed any longer. We are not to allow the spirits in the world to discourage or lie to us. Jesus is our hope in the dark times and we must reclaim this! We are precious to Him. It takes one heck of a man to give up His life for those that He loves. This in itself should give you hope. He has joy and mercy in abundance to give us. We must not allow the mayhem or misery of the enemy to steal our faith, hope, and joy. 

When life begins to feel hopeless, lift your eyes and look higher than this world. Look at Him. Look for Him. He is the One who has all power over heaven and earth. He is the one who reigns. 

Reclaim your hope by believing that YOU ARE WORTH IT! 
Reclaim your hope by knowing there is more to this life than what meets the eyes. 
Reclaim your hope by prayer and calling upon the Lord. 
Reclaim hope.
 Reclaim joy. 
Reclaim peace. 
Reclaim your life!


Are you ready to reclaim your life by reclaiming hope in the future and in God?

~




Previous Posts:

What is hope? | Finding Hope |  Embracing Hope

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Book Corner: 'More Than' Discussion


Welcome to our fourth week in our discussion. We're talking about chapters 4 & 5 this week in
 More Than: Abandon Your Labels, Embrace Your Calling.

This week we're touching base with finding your life calling.

I'll be honest. I never thought my life calling was where it ended up being. Shoot, at times I still wonder if I'm on the right path, headed in the right direction. I believe that our life calling is the one thing in God's plan that wraps all the small "unimportant" events in our lives to. They help build us up for the big stuff. Our gentle spirits would not be able to handle it all at once, so the Lord uses an entire lifetime for us to make our way to that standpoint. 

I believe that in order to find your life calling, we should be in line with the Bible and reflect back to it often. The more we dedicate time to God's Word, the easier it'll be to hear his life directions. In addition to reading the Bible, I feel we should take a lot of time in prayer, calling out to the Lord for direction and help with seeing our purpose. 

Once we ask and listen, we need to act on what God's speaking of. I love what the author says about this. It's powerful. Here read it for yourself again. 

"Callings aren't found sitting at home hoping, dreaming, and wishing that you'll figure yours out. It's about getting out there, getting involved, and being vulnerable." (pg 36)

While we open up to God, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to Him and He can work wonders within us. As a result, we can do wonders in the world.

****

I love how the author references baking bread in Chapter five to life. I never thought of it the way she explains and I agree with a lot of what was written. I find myself in the kneading of the dough within my life. I'm prepping my bread while the yeast is rising. 

As I was reading about the sugar and salt within our lifestyles, I find that I am more sugar. I have always been naturally kind, loving, and compassionate. Before I read this book, I always saw that as a flaw. I've said many times in the past that I am way too caring and I find myself caring too much. My sisters are salt and when I see people reacting to them, it makes me feel that friendships come much easier. When you're the sugar in life, I feel some think of you as the person who feels too deeply or takes things to heart. Thus, making them a "drama queen" or "wanting to be self-centered". 

After this chapter, I've promised myself to nourish this part of me and not think ill of it. It's a gift that this world could use more of. 

When the author started talking about her writing, I honestly felt as if she were talking about me. I'm going through the same thing right now. For two years (2012-2013) my fingers were hammering at the keys and I was creating worlds within my books quicker than I could keep up. Since I self-published my daughters story, life always seems to get in the way of my craft and I push it to the back burner. I've let myself slip. I have eight or so unfinished manuscripts hanging out; waiting to be finished for the world to read. I try to sit and write, but I find it hard. 

Since the start of the new year, I've got back into blogging and I've made some plans on a few of the books which need completed. Since reading this chapter, the author has inspired me to get back at the keys and write. It doesn't have to be perfect writing/plot lines. However, it needs to be something! 

****

My favorite quote within this week's reading was in Chapter 5. 

"The baking process of our lives includes the tests of our character and our opportunities to practice." (pg 52)

What did you take from this week's reading? Did you discover anything about your personality that you need to embrace or make changes to?  


Monday, January 18, 2016

Power of Hope: Embracing Hope

When we show faith, we're showing we have hope for our future.

We are showing we're strong enough to let go of what was to embrace what is and what will be.

In order for us to find and embrace hope, we need to let go of the control we want for our lives and hand it over to God. He's in control and I promise that He will do what is best for our lives. All will go according to His divine and wonderful plan. 



When we are embracing hope, we are embracing Jesus. Jesus can be and will be our hope in the future. When we take a hold of His hand and we allow Him to lead us in this life, we can be assured that He will lead us to the satisfaction of our hope. He won't ever leave us behind. 

When we embrace hope, we are embracing life!

Our stories are still unfolding, so don't judge life based on an unfinished chapter. Christ is not done with us, yet. 

Even after losing my daughter in 2013, I have found a way to find and embrace hope in my future. I have endured pain, disappointment, and heartbreak, but I never let go of my hope. I fixed my eyes on Jesus because I know He will never fail me. As He will never fail you.

I believe I am a work in progress who is loved by The Most-High.

At times, the best fight we can give is to stand on our faith and push back with our hopes. But if we must fall, we should do so, directly to our knees to call out to the Lord in prayer. Our battles have already been made into victory by the cross. We can do the dance of victory because God has our backs. His grace, his love, his peace.. will forever be restored within us when we reach out and embrace our hopes in Him.

Are you ready to embrace your hope? 


Sunday, January 17, 2016

a Child's prayer for gratitude

Through our child's life, we focus on their education, health, and well-being. We give them the materialistic objects within life that we think will make them happy. If you take a look around while out in public, you will probably see a child holding an electronic of some sort. Sadly, this is as far as their attention goes.

In an age where parents shower their child with their love in varies ways, I must ask this;
Does your child know, truly know, gratitude?

A child isn't wired to automatically know the important of gratitude or even understand it. We're instructed in the Bible that we are to give thanks in ALL things. It doesn't point out if this is only for adults because it's not. It's for all of us to learn, live, and express. 

The first step of this is by teaching our child manners and enforcing them. We're in a movement where a lot of parents don't worry about it or care. Gratitude isn't something that will come with age or maturity. We, as parents, have to CHOOSE this lifestyle for our children and TEACH it to them. If we don't focus on teaching our child how to be grateful and actually mean it, what are we doing exactly? What is it that's taking on more importance? 

I want to challenge you. If you're interested in helping your child learn and live gratitude, make a list of things that will help them grow with an attitude of gratitude. Here are some examples below.


1. Always use your manners. (Please, Thank you, You're Welcome) 
2. Smile and don't frown, Jesus wants us to turn it around.
3. Be happy with what you have by showing your care, pick it up and put it away so you'll have it for another day!
4. Notice when others are nice by acting in a gratitude filled manner. Be thankful!
5. Always say, "I love you." (In the morning, afternoon, and at bedtime.)
6. Do not worry about tomorrow and set your eyes on today.
7. Encourage someone with a kind word. 
8. Refrain from complaints.
9. Help out when you can by doing chores. (Be happy you have a home to clean.)
10. Remember to thank God for everything. 


What attitude of gratitude would you add to the list?


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Birthday Wishes to my Sister

I don't do personal posts on here that directly relate to my family. But today, I need to. I'd like to wish my baby sister a happy birthday. She's made such an impact on my life through the years, even though we really don't see eye to eye. If it weren't for her support and vision, Silenced wouldn't have ever been born. She's the one who inspired me to create a novel out of an old high school short story project. 

The Lord definately blessed me when He gave me her as a sister. I couldn't ask for a better person, mother, or friend in my life. 

Happy 28th Birthday, Audra! I am wishing you many blessings for the upcoming year. 


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book Corner: 'More Than' Discussion



Good morning and welcome to the third week of our discussion in the book, 
More Than: Abandon Your Labels, Embrace Your Calling. 

Before starting this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. I wasn't sure what I could get out of it. I 'm one of those people who just pick up a book and start reading, especially if I'm drawn to the cover. I hardly ever read the back or the first few pages on the inside. I believe that the Lord drew me to this book and wanted me to read it. Everything about it shows me this. 

The Lord knew that I wouldn't have been able to purchase the book when I did because of funds being tight for Christmas and when I found it, it was free on Amazon. (Sign #1) Then, out of hundreds of books on my Kindle, the cover spoke to me. It is pretty and the exact style that I love. (Sign #2) Now the contents within the book are showing me things that really never crossed my mind. Things that I need to see. Things I need to follow. 

Here's to our Lord and His wonderful, mysterious ways, which I love!

Let's discuss the Third Chapter. 

In this Chapter, the author speaks on being relabeled.

When we let go of our old labels and allow God to relabel us, we are allowing Him the room needed to reform us into what He has for us. We're giving Him the ability to repurpose our lives; to fulfill the promises He made to us. 

Several things hit the spot for me while reading and I felt the need to highlight them because they're important to remember.

"No longer are we concerned about what we can achieve. It becomes all about what we can give, who can help and the amount of hope we can spread." (pg 30)
WOW! That speaks to me so much. When we allow God to take over, He's able to perform miracles within us, which can lead to our new and improved labels. How awesome is that?

"Instead of being unwanted, you have been chosen. Instead of being a failure, you are victorious.Even more than that, you are beautiful, intelligent, wanted, accepted, joyful, loved, desired, unique, and set apart. You are more than any word that I could ever put on this page, because you were crafted in His image and He adores you." (pg. 31)

This gives me cold chills. It's powerful! How many times have you looked in the mirror and thought negative things about the person you saw in front of you? Well, here's it is... well worded and couldn't be any more true. Our outer beauty DOES NOT MATTER! Beauty remains on the inside. So, THROW AWAY ALL NEGATIVE LABELS AND LIVE THE ONES MENTIONED HERE. You're worth it to our Lord and that's all that matters!

The author asks, "What is the one word that has replaced all the noise in your life?" We are able to truthfully answer this question when we let go of the old and embraced the new. We've had a lot of time in between chapters so we could reflect back during the week on what we've read. How would you answer this question?

My answer is this. FAITHFUL and FORGIVEN and CHOSEN! The word Faith has followed each turn I made so far within this year and I have seen circumstances where I have been forgiven. I believe that Christ chose me to inspire and help others see His love. 

****

What did you take from this chapter? How will you use it in the days to come?



Monday, January 11, 2016

Power of Hope: Finding Hope

In a world where being strong, independent, and bold takes the stand. It can leave us feeling beaten and battered when we come to a standstill because of an unforeseen circumstance that leaves life with uncertain plans. We encounter times in our lives that try to weaken us and make us feel that its hopeless. 



However, as Christians we don't have to worry about the situations we face because God has our backs. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and hope." 

I believe that faith and hope intertwined with one another. I see faith in the now and hope in the future. For if we have hope for our future, especially if Jesus is walking beside us, the down right exhausting parts of life won't get us down. Everyone who allows Christ to guide their footsteps is guaranteeing themselves for a better future and a forgiven past!

But, how is it that we find this hope that I speak of?

How is it that we hold this hope close to our hearts when life has us so overwhelmed and uncertain?

Finding hope when we have hit rock bottom in life can be a tricky one but I'm here to tell you that it IS POSSIBLE!!!


First, I want you to completely forget anything that is causing you to stress or worry. Clear the mind of all these negative things. Now, think of the times in your life where you have done something amazing. For me, I believe it's absolutely amazing that I have managed to push forward into year three without my daughter. To live without a child is hard, however the most amazing part of this is that I had hope in Christ that things would (are) getting better. I love thinking of the ideas and plans that the Lord has set up for me because I know it'll all be worth it in the end. Now, if only we can ALWAYS think this way. It's hard but if we change our mindset to see the beauty in the hard times, the blessings when all seems lost, and the joy that is to come, we can grasp onto hope and ride this life with ease.

Another way to find hope is to find yourself reading God's word on a daily basis. How can we fight the battles we face if we aren't equipped with the gear needed? The things we need in order to face and destroy the enemy in his tracks are in the Bible. I use the Bible App on my phone to help with this. If you're not sure of the app I'm talking about, go to the app store on whichever device you have and look it up. This app comes equipped with daily reading plans to help you stay on track and prepare for the battle of daily life.

In addition to finding hope within the Bible, we should allow ourselves to be surrounded by positive inspiration. If we surround ourselves with optimism... we're sure to always look toward the bright side of things before we focus on the negative. 

The power of hope is there. We just have to grab it and hold on tight.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Book Corner: 'More Than' Discussion


Welcome to the second week of our book discussion.

We're on Chapter Two this week.

Man, this chapter hits home for me. 

In this Chapter, the author speaks on purposes for our lives. 

While I was reading this chapter, I completely understood that my plan is wayyy different than the plan the Lord has for me and my life.

Back in school when the teacher would ask us "what do you want to be when you grow up?" I always answered teacher. I loved the idea of helping children learn and preparing them for their adult lives. However, my adult life has been much different.

Right before I graduated, I had been enrolled into Laurel Business Institute for Cosmetology and Massage Therapy. Shortly after getting my start date, the Lord threw me for a loop and I found out I was pregnant. Seeing how I was pregnant, I couldn't continue my education until after I had given birth. 

By the time my daughter came into the world, I lost the desire to go to college because I wanted to focus on my daughter. It wasn't until years later that I went back to school. 

Now, if someone would have told me that my future would throw me off rail with the loss of my second daughter, I wouldn't have believed them. Who thinks that a stillbirth would happen to them? 

Once my daughter was born, I shifted my focus on to God. Since then I have been allowing God to lead the way.

****

In Chapter 2, the author asks "What is one thing or things that tug at your heart when you see and/or hear about it? (Is it human trafficking, childhood proverty, animals, homelessness, teenage suicide...)

My answer to this is homelessness. Any time I see a person standing at an intersection with a cardboard sign in their hands, my heart aches. I pray to God and ask him to guide me in this situation. I always feel led to help. I've given rides to a few people, food, or even just general conversation. (Yes, I get told about this all the time, but I trust God and listen to His word.)

Another question the author asks is, "If you could go beyond yourself, what burden would you want to lift, fight for or conquer?"

I wouldn't say it's a burden but it's definately painful. I would (and do) go out of my way to make it known that my daughter existed and that pregnancy loss is (unfortunately) happening. I pray that Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness is right beside Breast Cancer Awareness one day!

****

My favorite quote from this chapter was:

I don't know if it was a bad diagnosis, the death of a loved one, the loss of a child, infidelity, a divorce, loss of finances or some other terrible unforeseen circumstances, but there is a God who is greater than all those things. A God who can take what seems like a mess in your life and turn it into a beautiful story of purpose, future and hope. (Chapter 2, pg 28)


What are your thoughts on this chapter? What do you think God's purpose is for your life? Is His plan different than yours? How would you answer the two questions from the book? What is your favorite quote from this chapter? 


a prayer for those who need healing

it's that time of the year

cough
sneezing
colds
flu

it seems as if everyone is down with some type of illness.



in order for us to fully recover, we NEED Jesus.
we need His healing.

today, I pray for each person who is battling some type of illness

Father God,

Touch the sick

work wonders inside them today, Lord.

show them Your grace, mercy, and love!

heal each stuffy nose, each sneeze, each cough.

wipe away their pain.

rid them of any viruses or infections they're battling, Father

so that they may fully live their days as you intended.

In Jesus Name
~AMEN~



Monday, January 4, 2016

Power of Hope: What is hope?

Perhaps you're in a dark, scary place in your life. 
Nothing is going right and everything seems to be falling apart. 
Life is chucking everything at you at once and you're being to feel defeated.
Maybe it feels like you're being tossed around in this tornado of a life.



Maybe it feels like the floor of life has dropped out from underneath your feet and you feel as if you're free falling and at any moment the thud will come.

Just hang on...

...there's still hope.

We were promised this.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

What is hope exactly?

First, let's see what the dictionary says about hope:



(noun) a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen; 

a feeling of trust; 

(verb) want something to happen or be the case.


I believe that hope is eternal. We always hope for better things than what we have or for the things we want. In a way, hope is faith for the future. 

When things are going crazy in our lives, sickness hits home, or a disaster hits our country, we hope that things will get better and our future will be brighter. Hope is something that we search for, something that is desired, a fullfilled promise of something good.

If you think about it, hope is something much deeper. I believe that hope cosides with faith. Without faith, hope is nonexistant. When we have hope, we are expecting that what we believe and are waiting for will happen, as Christians this is in God's perfect timing.

In a world of so much chaose and negivaity toward God, we need to be careful that we don't allow ourselvs to slide into the turmoil. The belief in God gives us hope that there will be better things to come.

Therefore, I ask you, Reader...
How do you define hope?



Sunday, January 3, 2016

For the days when you think you failed at adulthood....

... let's be honest...

BEING AN ADULT IS HARD!

Growing up, I never imagined my life as it's been since I've been on my own.

I've had to stay with family on countless occasions.

my heart has been broken more than once,

sometimes I feel like I'm at the end of my rope

BUT

Jesus steps in...
... grabs my hand...
and shows me

IT'S GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT!!

Sometimes it's hard for me to see Him speaking to me because I'm so wrapped up in the now to realize He's calling my name. 

I've even heard His whispers a little too late.

That's why I believe we should slow down and LISTEN for His voice. Our problems aren't for us to bare. Jesus wants us to open up to Him and He wants us to spill out all of our heartaches to Him. 

My goal for this year is to do just that. Slow down and listen. I want to hear His call. 

Therefore, this is my prayer for all who feel as if they're failing:

Father God,
Thank you for all the blessings you've given us. Thank you for taking our problems on as your own and for loving us the way you do.

Father, I ask that you embrace the person reading this.
Shower your love and compassion over them.
Heal the sick.
Lead the weary.
Calm the frazzled nerves.

Lord, help us to know when you're speaking to us. Give us the wisdom to know when we should be quiet and listen. Help us to follow Your ways and give us the strength to bare everything that comes our way within this upcoming year.

-In Jesus Name
Amen!